Access to he diploma key developments
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Access to HE Diploma key developments. Kath Dentith Head of Access, QAA. Access to HE: some of the challenges in the external context. HE tuition fees and loans FE fees and loans: ‘co-funding’ for students 24+

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Access to he diploma key developments

Access to HE Diploma key developments

Kath Dentith

Head of Access, QAA


Access to he some of the challenges in the external context

Access to HE: some of thechallenges in the external context

  • HE tuition fees and loans

  • FE fees and loans: ‘co-funding’ for students 24+

  • 24+ Advanced learning loans to be written off for AHE students completing HE qualification

  • HE student number controls

  • ABB+ ‘equivalent ‘ qualifications include Access to HE

  • pressures on students on benefits

  • qualifications developments: A level/GCSE qualifications reform (QCF?)


Access to he in 2012 13 priority activities

Access to HE in 2012-13: priority activities

  • revised guidance for HE admissions staff

  • Access to HE website redeveloped: new case studies (including short films); improved functionality for Access Courses Database

  • Awarding Body Linkage: joint project -SPA/UCAS/QAA and AVAs

  • Access to HE Diploma qualification specification development


Review of the access to he diploma 2011 12

Review of the Access to HE Diploma 2011-12

  • Interviews with all Access Validating Agencies

  • Analysis of AVA data

  • Roundtable discussion meetings

  • Surveys:

    • 658 students

    • 359 Access to HE tutors

    • 172 HE admissions staff


The diploma in 2013

The Diploma in 2013

Research findings showed significant variability in

  • volume of level 3 credit achieved between 45 and 60 credits

  • balance of content between academic subject content and other content (eg study skills)

  • numbers of units and grades achieved by students

  • take up and acceptability of GCSE equivalent units

  • total credits available to students and how students achieved their Access to HE Diplomas


Does variability matter

Does variability matter?

Equity: differences not just about student choice but often structural, and therefore opportunities to achieve not equal

Progression: inconsistency makes it difficult for HE to set clear, generic entry requirements, especially for non-local students

Standards: inconsistency raises concerns about comparability of demand and student achievement on different Diplomas


Gcse equivalents in 2013

GCSE equivalents in 2013

  • Not available to all students

  • Many students already have the GCSEs

  • Very mixed pattern of acceptance by higher education

  • Often achieved as additional credit, which makes it difficult to achieve consistency in the Diploma

  • National policy strongly favours GCSEs for adults, and is doubtful about most equivalents

  • Students can be disadvantaged in future progression and employment if only have equivalents


Gcse equivalents from 2014

GCSE equivalents from 2014

  • From academic year 2014-15 QAA will no longer regulate the claim of GCSE equivalence for groups of Access to HE units

  • AVAs and providers will be able to continue to come to arrangements with individual HEIs to accept units within their Diplomas as equivalent and to offer them if the structure of the Diploma that emerges from consultation accommodates such units


What isn t changing

What isn’t changing?

Target groups: adults who left school with insufficient formal qualifications who now want to study in higher education

Total credit target: 60 credits

Grading model: Pass/Merit/Distinction for individual units

Other aspects of the specification: eg credit, unit requirements, rules of combination, APL


Academic subject content

Academic subject content

Proposal 1:

The specification is revised to ensure that students taking any Diploma achieve a minimum credit volume of 45 level 3 creditsfrom units concerned with academic subject content


Total credit volume to be achieved from graded units

Total credit volume to be achieved from graded units

Proposal 2:

The specification is revised to ensure that students taking any Diploma report grades achieved for level 3 units with atotal credit value which is the same for all Diplomas


Reducing the number of grades in grade profiles

Reducing the number of grades in grade profiles

Proposal 3:

The specification is revised so that the range of possible unit credit values for use on Access to HE Diplomas is reduced to 3, 6, or 9 credits


Ways of achieving the diploma

Ways of achieving the Diploma

Proposal 4:

From the date that the new specification is implemented, students may only be registered and certificated for units to the value of 60 credits


Credit structure

Credit structure

Proposal 5:

The specification is revised to ensure a credit structure that is compatible with a fixed volume of credit derived from graded units, using one of the models described (a, b or c)


Model a

Model a

45 credits level 3 graded credit with the rest at level 2 or pass/fail level 3


Model b

Model b

All 60 credits at level 3, 45 graded, 15 pass/fail


Model c

Model c

All 60 credits at level 3 and graded


The consultation www qaa ac uk or www accesstohe ac uk

The consultationwww.qaa.ac.uk or www.accesstohe.ac.uk

  • roundtable consultation meetings/meetings with former Access to HE students – Feb/Mar 2013

  • responses by 22 March 2013

  • new specification: outline, summer 2013; full document early autumn 2013

  • AVA and provider development year: 2013-2014

  • All Access to HE courses operating new specification from 2014-15

  • students applying to HE with new specification for entry in 2015


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